Whitney Houston was once considered the greatest voice of a generation; now, she is known as someone who sacrificed her career for drugs, and lost her life because of it.
That Houston was struggling with personal demons is obvious. And one issue that was often gossiped about -- though never confirmed by the singer herself -- was that she was a lesbian hiding deep in the closet.
Rosie O’Donnell fueled that rumor this week when she revealed on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live that Houston had at least one same-sex relationship. In fact, the singer was part of a secret group of famous lesbians.
“I knew that they were together,” Rosie said, referring to Houston and the singer's personal assistant Robyn Crawford. “I was friends with a lot of very athletic older lesbian women who were in the WNBA -- all these basketball playing women. I knew that, I knew it for a very long time. Everyone sort of knew it.
“So I thought it was very surprising when [producer] Clive Davis came out and said he never discussed her being gay. I don’t believe that for one minute.”
The documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me made a similar claim, with friends admitting Houston was bisexual but on the down low about it.
“Robyn and Whitney were like twins,” security personnel Kevin Ammons revealed in the film. “They were inseparable. They had a bond and [husband] Bobby Brown could never remove Robyn. He wanted to be the man in the relationship.”
Brown has also confirmed her bisexuality.
Of course, when Houston was at the top of her career, being out wouldn't have seemed an option. She would fear alienating fans, and face the onslaught of negative media attention. Worse, her own mother Cissy Houston was openly homophobic.
When Oprah asked if she would have been “bothered” if her daughter was a lesbian, Cissy replied: “Absolutely.”
Houston died of drowning following an apparent drug overdose in February, 2012.